Applying updates to your website can be scary. WordPress makes this a quick and easy process. Updating WordPress helps to keep your website working at its best.

WordPress will let you know when there is an update available for your website with a banner at the top of the admin area. Security updates are applied automatically by WordPress since version 3.7 to help keep your website secure.

Screenshot showing the WordPress update notification.

Update WordPress

You can apply WordPress updates from the admin area. This makes it quick and easy to update your WordPress website and check that you are running the latest version.

Take a backup

Before beginning you should take a full backup of your website files and database. You can usually take a website backup though the control panel provided by your web host.

Apply the update

After you have taken a backup you can click on the “Please update now” link in the update notification or click on the “Updates” menu item under “Dashboard”. 

Screenshot showing an example of the WordPress update page.

From here, you can then click on the “Update Now” button to start the update. After you have pressed the button it might take some time for the page to refresh.

Update completed

When the page has refreshed, you should see a page showing the new version of WordPress which your website has been updated to.

Update WordPress plugins and themes

You will be notified when there are updates for your installed WordPress plugins and themes by an indicator next to the Plugins and Appearance menu items.

Take a backup

Before beginning you should take a full backup of your website files and database. You can usually take a website backup though the control panel provided by your web host.

Apply the updates

After you have taken a backup you can click on the “Updates” menu item under “Dashboard”. This will display a list of plugins and themes which have updates available.

Screenshot showing an example of the WordPress plugins update page.

From here, you can click the checkboxes next to each plugin you would like to update. You should check that your version of WordPress is compatible with the new version of the plugin before allowing it to update. The compatibility is displayed as a percentage next to each plugin. When you have selected the plugins to update, you can then click the “Update Plugins” button.

Updates completed

When the page has refreshed, you should see a page confirming that the plugins have been updated to the latest versions.


Hopefully this quick guide helps you to update WordPress and keep your site running smoothly. However, sometimes the update feature can’t complete the update for a variety of reasons. If you require assistance with an update, get in touch to find out how we can help with your website development.